Thank you for your post. I clearly agree that parents should consult their pediatrician in weighing the risks and benefits in treatments for their children. While permethrin has been determined to be the safest insecticide to use for lice, none of the studies have actually been performed on children. www.mayoclinic.com/health/drug-information/DR601105/DSECTION=before-using
Some parents prefer to try alternate routes before resorting to chemical treatments. None of the ideas presented do I personally endorse, I just reported what appeared to be the highlights of the NYTs blog article.
The Reuter's article did suggest that OTC products such as Nix and RID which do contain permethrin but in even lesser concentrations than prescription versions are an alternative parents might also want to consider.
The article also suggested schools treat lice only on a case by case basis when students are itching or after a sleepover. I think that is an unreal expectation, schools are not going to wait for students to come in one by one scratching their heads.
Luckily lice is only an annoying problem and not a true danger to one's health. Coming up with satisfactory treatments for any low level health problems be it lice or symptoms of the common cold can be open to what suits the needs of each person.